Catholic Church

Report bishops who get donations from mining companies, says CBCP

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Report bishops who get donations from mining companies, says CBCP

BISHOPS' MEETING. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David speaks to journalists in Cagayan de Oro City on July 8, 2024, at the end of the CBCP's 128th plenary assembly.

CBCP News

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines vows ‘not to accept donations from individuals and companies involved in businesses that are destructive to the environment’

MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged Filipinos to report bishops who accept donations from mining companies, as part of the Catholic Church’s promise to reject donations from firms that destroy the environment.

“If you know of any bishop or diocese that is probably accepting donations from specific businesses or industries that you know to be involved in businesses that are destructive of the environment or extractive mining, you can bring them to our attention, because the individual bishop might not be aware of it,” said CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.

David, in a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday, July 8, said that this will allow the CBCP to “do our part in calling their attention.”

He said that the CBCP has “listed those industries and companies” that cause ecological damage, and “we are also in a process of dialogue with them.”

The CBCP president made this appeal at the end of the bishop conference’s 128th plenary assembly in Cagayan de Oro City, the first time that their highest-level meeting was held in Mindanao. Much of their discussions revolved around care for the environment, which is a top priority of Pope Francis

Report bishops who get donations from mining companies, says CBCP

David reiterated a previous commitment by the CBCP “to divest from financial institutions that are involved in businesses that are destructive to the environment, such as extractive mining and anti-life industries.” The Filipino bishops aim to achieve this by 2025.

The bishops also “resolved to stand by our earlier commitment not to accept donations from individuals and companies involved in businesses that are destructive to the environment,” said David during Monday’s press conference.

Dialogue with banks

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, vice chairman of the CBCP’s justice and peace commission, said that the Catholic Church has devised “a score card to help us identify financial institutions, mainly banks, that have investments or are giving loans to these industries that are harming the environment.”

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Alminaza said that Catholic dioceses, through their bishops, have been using their status as bank depositors or stockholders as they dialogue with banks involved. 

“We use our being shareholders and depositors to dialogue with them, asking them to come up with policies that would help us walk the talk,” Alminaza said. “In 2022, we made it clear that without an explicit policy that they are moving away from fossil fuels, namely coal and gas, then by 2025, we will be forced to withdraw our savings, our investments, from these banks.”

David, who was seated beside Alminaza during the press conference, later clarified that Alminaza “is using the word ‘our’ in a corporate sense because they are not our personal investments as bishops,” but “are the investments of our institutions.”

Rodne Galicha, executive director of the group Living Laudato Si’ Philippines, was one of those who assisted the bishops during their Cagayan de Oro plenary assembly.

In the #faith chat room of the Rappler Communities app late Monday afternoon, Galicha noted how “public disclosures show that there have been Catholic institutions and entities which actually divested” from financial institutions linked to mining.

Galicha said that at least seven Catholic institutions have “either totally or partially divested” as of March 2024. 

“However, divestment does not only include withdrawing shares or investments but also influencing companies and banks to divert finances to renewable energy and genuinely sustainable ventures. Dialogue is very important for ecological conversion,” Galicha said in Rappler’s #faith chat room. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.